Airstream Safari trip notes

I start by making checklists and notes on a 8.5″ x 13″ yellow pad days before our Airstream Safari camping trips and specific tasks are assigned to specific prep days depending on the weather.  For example, Friday’s weather was clear, two days before departure on our first trip of the season, so I completed one of the scheduled tasks by attaching my PressurePro tire pressure sensors to the tires of the truck and Safari and adjusting the pressures toward the recommended cold tire pressures (50 psi for my 14″ trailer tires, 60 psi for the front truck tires, and 75 psi for the rear truck tires).

Starting a trip with the right tire pressures is important because an under-inflated tire could get too hot, stressed, and fail.  The tricky part is that tire pressures fluctuate with the outside air temperatures by as much as 1 psi per every 10° F change in temperature.*  The temperature was 80° that Friday afternoon when I attached the sensors.  I knew that the pressures would be lower the next morning and even lower at our mountain camping destination, predicted to get the first cold storm of the season by midweek.  My task was facilitated by the PressurePro monitor, which shows the pressures at a touch of a button and then I recorded the pressures, along with the date, time, outside temperature, and weather conditions.  So when we departed, I was confident the tires had the optimal pressures for our 5 days of camping.

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My note taking continued when we arrived at our non-hookup campsite as I kept track of weather conditions and how well our Lifeline AGM batteries were being recharged by our two Airstream factory installed solar panels (See my Columnar Pad notes in above photo).  These notes are saved and assist me in determining when it’s time to replace the batteries (I replaced our first set after 5 years).

I continued to write notes on my yellow pad throughout our camping trip, which are also saved for future reference.  At home, Larry maintains a running camping log on a Word document on our aluminum iMac* of trip mileages, menus, plants, birds and people seen.  I also make concise entries in “The Airstream Travel Journal”.

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See More, Do More, Live More: The Airstream Travel Journal“, designed by Bryan Burkhart/MODERNHOUSE, was published by Chronicle Books LLC in 2002.  (Bryan Burkhart is also the designer and coauthor of Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht, Chronicle Books LLC, 2000.)  The spiral-bound journal with aluminum* front and back covers and featuring lined pages along with vintage Airstream spot art and photos, originally sold for $16.95 and I bought two of them in 2006.  This journal is now out of print and is no longer available from Chronicle Books*, but it can be found online for prices ranging from $79.99 to $600!  (For now, I think I will not place notes in my second copy and will just keep it in pristine condition for future possibilities!)

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See More, Do More, Live More: The Airstream Travel Journal

Another journal, “Airstream Prism Journal Book“, is currently available online for $16.95 from Airstream, Inc..  Per Airstream’s website, this journal has a silver anodized aluminum front cover and a black leather back with an elastic pen loop and includes a black Airstream pen.

Our aluminum Airstream (75th anniversary)* Safari trip notes also find their way into our aluminum MacBook Pro*, which transforms them into a blog post, documenting those riveting experiences.*

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I prefer writing my trip notes with a pen and paper, but perhaps I should consider a simpler tool, the pencil, or a more powerful tool, the iPad Air*, or perhaps the typewriter (with its classic, iconic image and sound)* would be more appropriate!

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Airstream, Apple, and the ‘OH WOW’ experience

We might have been crazy ones, spending a significant chunk of our retirement savings for a relatively expensive recreational vehicle, but upon seeing our custom-ordered 2007 Airstream Safari travel trailer shining in the sun as flags waved festively overhead at the dealership, I felt that ‘OH WOW’ experience.

For us, the Airstream trailer with its iconic shape, clean lines, beauty and functionality, made us feel good, and was well worth the investment.

Our decision to buy this was based on much research, and once it had been acquired, I began researching a replacement for our 9 year old PC.  For me, having a PC had been a love-hate relationship and I wanted our next computer to be enjoyable, functional, beautiful, intuitive, and relatively trouble-free.  I noticed that several people were fulltiming in their Airstream trailers (Rich L. and Rich C.) while happily blogging away on their Mac laptops.  The Mac vs PC research led me to buy an iMac and a MacBook Pro.

Needless to say, it was another ‘OH WOW’ experience and love at first sight and use, and continues to be so… the beauty of aluminum in form and function.

As I write this, I am using the MacBook Pro made by Apple. Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was its co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer.  For three hours on October 19, Apple closed all of its retail stores worldwide for “A celebration of Steve’s life.”  Earlier this week, PBS presented “Steve Jobs: One Last Thing – An inside look at the man and the major influences that helped shape his life and career.”

On October 24, 2011, Simon & Schuster released the authorized biography, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, now the top-selling book in the country.  As I read this fascinating story, which includes his faults as well as his achievements, I found it interesting that he was influenced by some of the people that influenced me when I was in college, such as Bob Dylan (“It’s Alright Ma“), Timothy Leary (“Legend of a Mind ~ Moody Blues“, The Beatles (“Two of Us“), and Joan Baez (“Forever Young“).

Earlier this week, we celebrated Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, a day of celebrating and honoring those who have gone before us.  Larry made Pan de Muerto, a sugar-topped sweet egg bread traditionally shaped into skulls or round loaves.

On October 16, a memorial service was held for Steve Jobs at Standford University’s Memorial Church, where Steve’s biological sister, Mona Simpson, delivered a moving eulogy, and revealed his last words: ‘OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.’

Here’s To The Crazy Ones

Dog days of summer

Up in the trees, the male cicadas seem to relish the increasing summer heat this time of year and quickly contract and relax their internal timbal muscles causing their timbals to emit a sustained, resonating clicking sound that attracts female cicadas.  Most cicadas have a life-cycle of two to five years, but some, such as the Magicicada, have a 17-year cycle and, with a combination of a long-life cycle and periodicity, are sometimes called 17-year cicadas.  Cicadas live underground most of their lives, but eventually tunnel to the surface and molt (see one shedding its skin here).  The Golden Cicada in the Chinese classic, Journey to the West, illustrates the belief that transformations in life can lead to enlightenment and immortality.dsc_0010-cereus-vertical-night-sky.jpgSo we are now in the dog days of summer, the hottest, most sultry days of summer, usually between early July and early September.  The ancient Romans called these days Caniculares dies (days of the dogs) after the “Dog Star”, Sirius, which is in the constellation Canis Major and is the brightest star in the sky besides our Sun.  The ancient Romans noticed that in their summers Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun and they thought that their combined heat caused this stretch of hot, humid weather.  The ancient Egyptians noted the peak of their seasonal flooding of the Nile River occurred after the heliacal rising of Sirius, which became their “watchdog” for this event. Some people believe that this is an evil time when dogs become mad and men hysterical.  Politics fray and town hall meetings become raucous.  This is the season when hurricanes churn, wildfires rage, dragonflies swarm, and spiders grow and proliferate.  Others see it as a time when dogs lie lazily about and ants accelerate their march in search of food and water.Indeed, while I was researching this and more on my MacBook Pro laptop computer, I noticed an Argentine ant walking across the beach scene of my computer’s wallpaper. (See CNN News article, “Are ant invaders taking over San Diego?“)  While unsuccessfully brushing it off with my hand, I noticed that this ant was actually inside my computer’s display panel.  I tried to ignore its random explorations back and forth on the beach in hopes that it would just find its way out for some water, food or fresh air.  But when it became apparent that the ant preferred to stay on my beach, I became concerned that it would eventually die there, and become an eyesore and a permanent distraction.dsc_0125-ant-on-dock-macbook-pro.jpgI then noticed that the ant became very interested in my computer’s cursor (in the form of an arrow) which I moved about with the computer’s mouse.  The ant must have thought that the image of the cursor arrow looked like another ant and when I brought the arrow near the ant it followed the cursor as if it were following a brother ant and I was able to use my mouse to lead this ant safely off the beach onto my dock where I put my finger down on the subject.  Better to stabilize it on the dock at the bottom of the screen than risk having it litter the beach, I thought. Everyone was amused during my next Apple one-to-one session and they suggested that I show it to the Apple Genius Bar.  They laughed and took pictures of it with their iPod camera and, to head off any long-term consequences of an ant deteriorating in the computer, they authorized a replacement of the display panel under warranty (Apple lived up to its great customer service!)Most of my dog days of summer, however, were spent as the third alternate juror in a gang-related murder case.  I was never actually called upon to deliberate the defender’s fate, but I did find the case fascinating and probably equivalent to a Gangs 101 college level course.  I learned what criminal gangs do (criminal acts), how they recruit (give marijuana-laced cigars [“blunts“] to young teenagers), and how gang members increase their gang-standing (commit more criminal acts).  I learned about gang culture, clothing, colors, symbols, tattoos, graffiti, hand signs, and music (Gangsta rap).I learned how police fight gang-related crime (document gang members using field interview reports, arrest gang members, interview witnesses, and collect and process evidence).  Forensic evidence, such as DNA, GSR (gunshot residue), fingerprints, and ballistics, is playing an increasingly important role in criminal justice.  A career in forensic science offers an exciting combination of science and law studies.  Forensic science is now playing a major role in helping jurors decide on a guilty-beyond-reasonable-doubt verdict or a not guilty verdict.  The Deputy District Attorney (see him prepare and present another San Diego case) instructed us jurors about the felony-murder theory (besides the actual perpetrator, all conspirators present in aiding and abetting a murder may be prosecuted for mu
rder).The trial ended earlier this month and the defendant was found guilty of first-degree murder. It was delayed by another prisoner in the county jail contracting Swine Flu, which resulted in a 10-day medical lockdown of prisoners (who could then not meet with their lawyers or attend court).  (As of August 12, 2009, there have been 1,005 confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza in San Diego County, including 16 deaths.)  During the many trial breaks, I was able to finish one of the books, True at First Light, written by Ernest Hemingway when he returned from Kenya in 1953, seen on our patio table in my “Stepping into summer” article.The Nightblooming cereus seen above and below were blooming on a full moon night earlier this summer.dsc_0012-nightblooming-cereus.jpgRecent cool breezes in San Diego have made these dog days of summer more tolerable, at least for the moment.  So now that my ant problem has been resolved and the jury case concluded, things are looking up…dsc_0220-bird-of-paradise.jpgand I can relax and listen to “Dog Gone Day’s 2009” music, while contemplating our next Airstream trip.

The desert is blooming

It might be snowing where you are, but it’s spring wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.  That’s how I started a similar post almost exactly one year ago when Larry and I rendezvoused with Rich Charpentier and Sadira for a celebration of the beginning of the wildflower season and the turning point in Rich’s fortune.  Two years ago Rich visited this area in Borrego Springs and immediately felt happy.  From here he went on to find his happy home base in Prescott, Arizona and establish his very successful career, R.L. Charpentier Photography, and gallery.

Last Saturday we received a report from the Anza-Borrego Foundation and Institute that the desert is blooming.  We were not disappointed, even our campsite was surrounded with wildflowers.

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The blooms are just beginning and should be prolific this year due to our recent rain.

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Since dogs are not allowed on the trails, we took turns going with Rich on day hikes.  Larry and Rich hiked up Palm Canyon with its many displays of the Brittlebush (big grayish-green dome-shaped bush covered with bright yellow flowers on thin stalks) and the Pink Sand Verbena.  Then on the same day, I joined Rich in his Titan on a drive to Ghost Mountain where we hiked one mile to see the pictographs in Smuggler Canyon.

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Along the way Rich discovered a lizard on a rock.  And the lizard contemplated its options.

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Rich came well equipped with two cameras, an assortment of lens, tripod and waterproof bag.  Rich is gaining quite a reputation for his spectacular HDR images.
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We found the pictographs and my images will appear in my next post, along with more about Marshal South’s and his son’s visit here when they lived at nearby Yaquitepec.

The brief report comes to you from the field, as it did one year ago, complements of Rich’s WI-FI connection.

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More desert trails and mysteries will continue after my next post, Desert blooms 2009.

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Our new web site

Dim sum, an offering of small portions of a variety of foods (steamed, baked, or fried dumplings, and roasted meats), a traditional Chinese cuisine, and in this case, highlights and glimpses of our camping trips and interests. Over a year’s worth of photos are being highlighted in a new web site that will offer seasonal, regional, and topical fare. It will also be a place to see more photos related to the stories as they appear in this column. The photos can be viewed as slide shows, and selected ones will be shown in movie format with a soundtrack.

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Our new web site was created utilizing the application, iWeb, that came with the Mac computer. Through one-to-one training sessions at the Apple Store, I have been learning how to use this along with the many features that came with our Mac.

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This site also contains a “Friends Along the Trail” page with photos of precious memories and moments such as:

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Cooking highlights will be seen on the Cooking page, such as making homemade pizza on the grill.

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Yum cha, anyone?

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